Hiring a Web Designer – Templates and When to Avoid Them in Business

Are you considering a website template for your business website? Or perhaps you are hiring a designer to customize one or even to custom design an entire website for you. To reduce the possibility of ending up with something un-usable, then I hope that the following tips will help highlight some common web design mistakes, even when you end up hiring the local web design guy or company, and why you should usually avoid the web templates that are available unless you plan on customizing or editing them yourself.Let the Content Determine the LayoutIn an age of cheap web templates, website builders and instant web designs, is a time of great confusion and middle-of-the-road websites. By this statement, I mean that in many cases the template’s layout restricts or pre-determines what content or information you will be able to place on any particular page. In addition, many web templates will have certain features that might not otherwise have been implemented, and so exist superfluous to the rest of the web design or get used regardless resulting in frequent redundant or duplicate components. This approach usually leads to an un-natural or erratic and confused navigation method.Many business owners, especially the community and local businesses find themselves out of their depth when seeking a web designer that will produce quality work for them. A designer will present an idea fairly quickly of an all-in-one or CMS (Content Management System) solution that is powerful and flexible with all the bells and whistles. This approach is usually taken by a designer that is putting their need to produce something ahead of the need to create something right for the business’ needs. A web designer should always be able to site down and talk with a client, understand their business and their customers – especially if it is a local business, and be able to develop and create something that benefits the business and will not end up requiring constant fixing, tweaking, updating or re-designing in a few months time.What to Look for or to Ask a DesignerThe first thing you should likely ask yourself, and then the prospective designer, is what the aim or goal of the website is. That is, do you need it to attract readers for articles, or perhaps to introduce your brand to a new audience before eventually being able to convert a portion in to new sales, or is it a publishing or informational resource primarily ie. Keeping existing clients/customers up to date with product updates or events etc.The purpose of the website will therefore greatly influence the development approach of a web designer or developer. Having a slick looking portfolio seems good – however a designer’s work should also clearly show their ability to adapt the very design concepts and user experience to each relevant market or business model.So Why are Website Templates a Bad Choice?
In some case they are the perfect choice, but they are not right for everyone. If content or value-added interactivity is what is important, a template will nearly always be the wrong choice – since their very purpose is to restrict layout and branding options or uniqueness so that you at least get some sort of styled page that can be used quickly.For most trading businesses therefore that rely heavily on any sort of branding, identity or trademarks etc – A template design will nearly always serve to damage it. The relatively small cost of a custom development will nearly always produce a far greater ROI, especially if you consider that once you buy your $100 – $500 template, you will need to hire someone to customize it with your imagery, logo, content and exact pages/sections – quite easily costing a further $200-$300. A custom web design can often start from as low as $800 (of course it would be much higher for websites that require database storage, backend programming, dynamic content etc), but remains relatively cheap in comparison to traditional business assets and costs.In addition to this, as part of a professional design service, a design company is able to ensure that the website is created using code standards, and an optimized content layout that will help your website’s search results performance (SEO) over time.

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Only a Marketing Database Is a Marketing Database

A fully integrated marketing database is the foundation of successful direct marketing. Today’s marketers have more data, from more channels, than ever before-making a database even more of a necessity. All direct marketing channels (email, direct mail, telesales, mobile, etc.) are creating higher volumes of data and adding more complexity to each respective source-forcing each system to effectively manage its own data in an increasingly intricate manner. As each individual system, such as eCommerce, ESP, fulfillment, loyalty, web analytics, etc., grows in complexity, the need for marketing data integration across all data systems and sources grows at an even greater rate. The capability of any single, individual system to manage and integrate data from other systems is inherently lacking. By definition, each individual system functions for its own specialized purpose, not to facilitate and optimize marketing.Consequently, the need for a fully integrated marketing database, capable of continuously managing vital marketing data from disparate silos, is greater than ever. It serves as the essential means to integrating all of this data; and to keeping this data in pristine condition, maintained in a perpetually actionable state. ESP, eCommerce, and fulfillment systems may tout their data integration capabilities. But many marketers, through painful experience, know the fallacy of such claims. An ESP is not a marketing database. An eCommerce platform is not a marketing database. A web analytics platform is not a marketing database. Only a marketing database is a marketing database.If the following does not characterize the database you are using for marketing, then you do not have a fully integrated marketing database:

Trustworthy data-your data is accurate and dependable, in pristine condition

Accessible data-easy access via a web based application, intuitive and built for marketers

Fresh data-your data is always current and up-to-date

Integrated data-all direct marketing data, both offline and offline, cohesively integrated together

Customer and prospect/acquisition data is in one unified, integrated database

Your data is actionable and always ready-to-use; it’s not a project to get all of your data together

Your direct marketing data management is routine, predictable, repeatable, and automated; not ad hoc

Marketing department can use and manage its data, without burdening your IT group

Your data is integrated at the unique individual, household, address, email, and phone number level-and any other level needed to support marketing needs

Multi-channel direct marketing is easy and integrated

Ability to run counts and extract lists in minutes

You can analyze your marketing data dynamically and on-the-fly

Recency, Frequency, Monetary (RFM) data is at your fingertips

All suppression data is precisely managed across all channels and all touch points

Demographic, lifestyle, and predictive models are integrated into your marketing database

You can derive meaningful marketing data from your existing raw data and act on it

Custom reports for marketing management are at your fingertips

As your needs evolve, new sources such as social or web analytics can be integrated into the database

Custom business rules are routinely applied to your data, adaptable as your business changes

Promotion history is tracked and can easily be applied; marketing “touch” data can be used for analysis, executing an optimal contact strategy, and facilitating the right blend of multi-channel marketing
For prospect data, marketing touch data elements and history can be leveraged; touch data has proven to be one of the most predictive prospecting data elementsThe Bottom Line: Only a Marketing Database is a Marketing Database.

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How Social Media Allies and Upsides Your SEO Efforts?

SMM and Search Engine Optimization are usually given a separate space in the digital marketing arena.

And, quite reasonably, they are the two most decisive factors in the online marketing sphere.

But what we fail to understand is why many businesses do not acknowledge social media marketing as one of SEO’s most influential allies.

Do we intend to say that social media directly encourages your Search engine rankings?

The simple answer could be NO!

You must recognize that social metrics like Facebook likes and Twitter followers indicate social profile authority but have no hand in directly circumscribing the search engine rankings.

Surely, our straightforward answer is confusing. However, we completely believe that SEO and smo are powerful collaborators whose association must be leveraged for digital marketing success.

Let’s dig deeper and express how SMM can merit and warrant your SEO strategy.

The Relationship Between Social Metrics & SEO

Let’s assume that there might have been experiments conducted in the past that determine the use of social-media metrics such as social mentions and engagement level for search engine rankings.

But due to the unpredictable and unstable nature of smo and the weak signals generated, professionals might have dropped the attempts.

This was well elaborated by Matt Cutts back in 2014 in a Webmasters video. He was the Head of Google’s Webspam Team back then, and he revealed that social media provided incomplete signals.

Also, search engine algorithms can’t ascertain the reliability and authority of the smo posts and the profile.

Nevertheless, is there an Indirect way that social media influences search engine rankings?

And, this was embellished in the Cutt’s video itself.

He said that Google treats all social media websites like any other website on the Internet, which means that the same rules apply to Facebook, Twitter and so on as it applies to other websites.

Benefits of Social Media for Business

A Linkable Opportunity

As most social media consists of links to other websites, site owners and content creators can use it to promote their content.

You can employ a particular mixture of organic and paid promotions strategy to maximize your audience base.

Here’s how this happens-

As you use social media, there might have been countless times that some articles impacted you.

The impression an article made is evident in the things you share and communicate on social media. You might often use the information from the article in your other works, giving the source article a reference.

Understand that people cannot relate to something unless they know about it. Social media gives the perfect opportunity to content creators to prompt the audience and share link-worthy content.

You might well concede that SMM has given attention to many websites and individuals who were not known before. Creating Brand Mentions

Now, suppose someone or something (brand, product, service, individual, business, etc.) that has not yet been identified by Google suddenly notices many remarks online. In that case, it will influence Google to categorize them as an “entity”.

These are some unique circumstances that can boost your search engine rankings. This is bound to the context you are being mentioned or how people are talking about you online.

Understand that you are not adjudicated for how high you rank for a thing but what you entail as an entity.

So your website might not be getting a mention for a specific thing right now, but seeing the number of people who put trust in you, they can well start recognizing your business for that particular piece.

This is called the power of positive mentions.

Nevertheless, you need to make sure that positive mentions are not just on social media but on all public forums.

You can spring your brand marketing with your true audience base and inspire positive reinforcement and communication on social media.

Social Media For Searches

You cannot miss the fact that people use social media to search for a particular product or brand, and your audience base is just not limited to Google or Bing.

As you operate Twitter, you will realize that the social media channel with its trends, hashtags, insights and other tools give you a perfect opportunity to collude with the potential customers, making your content visible to the users.

You will find similar responses to Pinterest and Instagram.

Also, if anyone wants to know more about your company, he/she will likely ascertain your presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter channels- do a quick search and decide upon if he/she wants to deal with your business or not.

In 2016 Mark Zuckerberg had mentioned that “Now people are doing more than 2 billion searches a day between looking up people, businesses, and other things they care about.”- source Techcrunch.

Facebook had earlier retreated on a semantic graph search engine and launched a true keyword search, which landed in more search queries for media channel.

Twitter, since its onset, has been the leading destination for the population to flock for searches, especially in the event of big global news. Full post search appeared to have worked for Facebook and have expedited query volume.

Changing The Idea Of SEO

We have reached the phase where SEO is not just centered till Google optimization. We need to realize that search engine optimization is extending and converging on smo.

Also, if Google has been unclear about its stand, Bing, on the other hand, has been quite positive in including social metrics in its search engine algorithms.

You may well agree that the audience that reaches the company website, lurking through digital media channels, has already interacted with the company in a very pragmatic sense.

Also, digital media gives users the capability to engage more powerfully and compellingly. Hence, it will be only effective to broaden your social, media capacities and elicit brand awareness and growth.

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